|Associated Press photo|
In 2011, Mesaba Airlines discontinued its service to Rhinelander, around the same time that the number of passengers using the airport dropped from around 52,000 to 22,000, Kaeding writes. Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport Director Joe Brauer told Kaeding that EAS "has benefited the airport since 2011, and passengers have been increasing as the economy has improved." Brauer and Zich were confident that eliminating EAS wouldn't make their airports close, because they have many corporate and general-aviation users.
"Trump’s budget states flights through the program aren’t full and have high subsidy costs per passenger. Brauer said the subsidy they receive per passenger has dropped by more than 70 percent as the number of passengers has almost doubled in the last five years to 41,579 last year," Kaeding reports.